Janet de Berge Lange's Creative Climate

Janet de Berge Lange works in a studio of collections.  

In her sprawling studio, hidden behind a small,1904 house in the Van Buren neighborhood, visitors can find almost anything from dried birds to tin cans that have all inspired her artwork.

Lange bought the property in 2000, and she and her husband divided the space into a warehouse, small gallery, and studio where Lange has happily worked for the past 11 years.

Lange organizes her studio into designated areas for glass, metal, paper, and wood and has spaces dedicated to each type of work she does (from tiny pocket prayers to large metal quilts). She's also collected thousands of items, which (if they're lucky) are incorporated into Lange's artwork

"For some reason I've always been a pack rat and so working with found objects came about easily for me," she says. 

Her latest work, See Girl Run, is a series of seven large quilts created from metal tins, featured at Willo North Gallery and Frances Studio in Phoenix.

​"It just seems like the cans are so beautiful," she says. "I just thought, 'Why not use them?' they're so pretty and it's kind of a way of preserving them. And they reminded me of fabric."

Lange says the series has a deep historical context and, like much of her work, was a meditation on the role of women in society. The pieces hearken back to the quilts displayed in windows to indicate safe houses on the Underground Railroad, and remain an homage to a classically female craft. 

In order to create, Lange says it's important for her to have her space. 

"Really the most important thing is to have a studio where nobody can get at you," she says. "When I'm here, I'm usually just here by myself and it's like that self-imposed isolation that makes you so happy."

Today, the artist is in the process of packing, moving, and selling her studio; she's headed for Miami, Arizona, where she hopes to build a creative oasis (while staying plugged into the local scene).

"We wanted to have a getaway place," she says. "I'm not really a cabin type person, but I am a native of Arizona -- a third generation native. So Miami is a kind of a little bit like being in the Wild West and being back in my childhood."

Check out a slideshow of the artist's studio and see her See Girl Run series, now hanging at Frances Studio in Phoenix. 

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Maya Dukmasova